Tag Archives: Cincinnati Bearcats

College Basketball: The Five Best Matchups of the ESPN Tip-off Marathon

The start of the college basketball is still a few months away, but schedules and matchup are slowly being released throughout the offseason. Beginning at 11 p.m. on August 11, ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan began releasing the matchups for the annual ESPN Tip-Off Marathon. The Tip-Off Marathon begins at 7 p.m. on November 11 and there will be games broadcasted consecutively on the network for more than 24 hours.

To make the marathon work, games will be played across the country and ESPN is using time zone differences to its full advantage.

The Tip-Off Marathon will feature title contenders (Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State), some of last season’s Cinderella teams (Florida Gulf Coast, La Salle and Wichita State) and every other type of team in between.

While most fans are unlikely to be up at a the crack of dawn to watch Hawaii host New Mexico State, there are a number of intriguing matchups to be played on November 11 and 12.

The headliners are obviously the two Champions Classic games: Kentucky-Michigan State and Duke-Kansas.

Each of the four teams in the Champions Classic will have played each other in the event after this season, which is the third year of the Classic. With four of the best programs in college basketball competing in the Champions Classic, there are destined to be compelling matchups every year.

The Champions Classic website acknowledges that the 2011 games included Mike Krzyzewski breaking Bob Knight’s NCAA Division I men’s basketball all-time wins record as well as a preview of that year’s championship game with the Kentucky-Kansas matchup.

This year’s Champions Classic games will be filled with compelling story lines, highly touted prospects and very good basketball.

Here are the five best games in the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon based on how the teams performed last season, the players returning and the strength of their 2013 recruiting classes.

5. Western Kentucky at Wichita State

The Shockers are coming off the heels of their run to the Final Four last spring, and it’s time for them to try to build off of last season. Wichita State’s best player, senior forward Cleanthony Early, returned to school in hope of another tournament run. However, Wichita State will have to move on without Carl Hall and Malcolm Armstead, who averaged a combined 23 points and 10 rebounds per game last season.

Creighton has moved to the Big East, which means that Wichita State has a chance to assert its dominance in the Missouri Valley. The Shockers’ game against Western Kentucky will be their first time in the national spotlight since April.

The Hilltoppers are no slouches, even though WKU isn’t known for its basketball. In their opening matchup in last year’s NCAA tournament, they were beating Kansas with 18 minutes left in the game and only lost by seven to the Jayhawks.

Western Kentucky’s leading scorers, T.J. Price and George Fant, will be juniors this season. The duo averaged 28 points and 11 rebounds per game last season. WKU lost only two seniors to graduation from last year’s team that went 20-16, which means that the Hilltoppers could be chosen on selection Sunday next spring.

4. North Carolina State at Cincinnati

Both North Carolina State and Cincinnati had early NCAA tournament exits last season. The two schools each lost by four points in their first matchups.

The Wolfpack lost most of its star players to graduation, the NBA or another school via transfer. Sophomore forward T.J. Warren will lead the new-look North Carolina State team along with the nation’s 13th best recruiting class that Mark Gottfried assembled. Five freshmen will join the Wolfpack this season, and three of them (point guard Anthony Barber, center BeeJay Anya and power forward Kyle Washington) are in ESPN’s top 100 players of the 2013 class.

The Cincinnati Bearcats lost three key players–guard Cashmere Wright, center CheikhMbodj and guard JaQuon Parker–to graduation following last season. However, UCbrings back its leading scorer, Sean Kilpatrick, who averaged 17 points per game last season. Senior forwards Titus Rubles and Justin Jackson, as well as junior guard Jeremiah Davis III will have to step up this season for Cincinnati to make it back to the NCAA tournament. The Bearcats have the 24th best 2013 recruiting class, which is led by power forward Jermaine Lawrence.

Cincinnati and North Carolina State lost several starters from last year’s squads. They hope that their top 25 recruiting classes are enough to make it further in the NCAA tournament next year than they did last season.

3. Florida at Wisconsin

The Florida-Wisconsin matchup will be overshadowed because it falls in between the Kentucky-Michigan State and Duke-Kansas games, but it is certainly a treat for college basketball fans. Florida and Wisconsin are two programs that are consistently good.

Florida won the national championship in 2006 and 2007 and the Gators have made the Elite Eight for three consecutive seasons.

Wisconsin has made the NCAA tournament every year since 1999.

Florida will be led by senior center Patric Young, who averaged 10.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season. The Gators also have two of the top 12 2013 recruits, per ESPN. Point guard Kasey Hill and power forward Chris Walker are five-star recruits who made Billy Donovan’s two-player freshmen class the 10th best in the country.

Wisconsin returns its leading scorer, Ben Brust, who averaged more than 11 points and five rebounds per game last season. The Badgers also have sophomore Sam Dekker, who could be ready for a breakout season after averaging more than nine points and three rebounds per game in 2012-13.

The Badgers’ top incoming freshman is power forward Nigel Hayes, who was ranked 83rd overall in the country by ESPN. Wisconsin’s five-player freshman class is ranked 32nd in the country.

These schools played in November last season and Florida won at home by 18. Now it’s Wisconsin’s turn to have home-court advantage and try to pick up a key non-conference win.

2. Duke vs. Kansas

The two incoming freshmen with the most hype will get to square off at this year’s Champions Classic. Jabari Parker and the Duke Blue Devils will challenge Andrew Wiggins and the Kansas Jayhawks.

While Parker and Wiggins will get most of the attention, other highly ranked recruitswill get the chance to make a name for themselves on a national stage.

Kansas also has the top center prospect in Joel Embiid (ranked 6th overall by ESPN), small forward Wayne Selden (ranked 14th overall by ESPN), point guard Conner Frankamp (46th nationally) and shooting guard Brannen Greene (47th nationally).

Duke also signed Matt Jones (36th nationally) and Semi Ojeleye (40th nationally).

The Blue Devils also return starting guards Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon, who both averaged more than 11 points per game last season.

Kansas lost all five starters from last season, but the Jayhawks return Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe, who were the team’s best bench players.

Both teams reloaded on talent and they are poised to make deep tournament runs this season.

1. Kentucky vs. Michigan State

After Kentucky’s fourth-place finish in the SEC last season, John Calipari is bringing the best recruiting class in the country for 2013 to Lexington, and it includes six players in the top 25 spots of ESPN’s top 100 players.

The Wildcats also return Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein, who were both ranked in the top 40 players of the 2012 class by ESPN.

UK will likely begin the season as the No. 1 team in the country and the Wildcats are ready to turn the page after their season-ending loss to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT.

Michigan State doesn’t have a single 2013 recruit ranked in the top 100 players by ESPN, but the Spartans are returning four starters from last year’s team that advanced to the Sweet 16. Michigan State will be led by senior point guard Keith Appling, star shooting guard Gary Harris and senior forward Adreian Payne. Tom Izzo has the roster to make his seventh final four at Michigan State.

This may be the best test of the regular season for both teams, and it comes in November rather than in conference play.

Click here to read this article on BleacherReport.com. 

Streaking Hoosiers return to Big Ten play

After defeating No. 2 Duke 4-2 on March 15, the No. 38 IU women’s tennis team will look to continue its success against No. 37 Penn State and No. 53 Ohio State this weekend. The Hoosiers will face the Nittany Lions at 5 p.m. Friday at the IU Tennis Center and the Buckeyes at 11 a.m. Sunday.

“I’ve never been in a situation before where we lost the doubles point and lost the first set on every court and then came back and won the second set on every court,” IU Coach Lin Loring said. “I’m not sure why we’re able to win five second sets when we lost five first sets. If I can figure it out, I’ll bottle it and sell it.”

IU is 11-4 this season and lost its only Big Ten dual match to Purdue. The Hoosiers have the No. 52 doubles tandem of senior Leslie Hureau and junior Sophie Garre.

Penn State is 10-1, with wins against No. 49 VCU and No. 61 College of Charleston. Penn State suffered a 5-2 defeat March 3 at Ohio State. Penn State and IU’s two common opponents this season were Kentucky and Marshall. Both teams topped the Thundering Herd 6-1. Penn State bested Kentucky 4-3 while the Hoosiers fell to the Wildcats by the same margin.

Penn State has the No. 41 singles player in Petra Januskova, who has been named the Penn State Student-Athlete of the Week twice this academic year, and the No. 57 doubles combination of Januskova and Chelsea Utting.

IU and Penn State participated in the Western Michigan University Super Challenge last November. The Nittany Lions won two of the three singles matches against the Hoosiers, but IU won both of its doubles matches against Penn State.

The Hoosiers enter Friday’s match with a 10-match win streak against the Nittany Lions.

The Buckeyes are 8-6 (1-1), and they have a dual match against the No. 21 Boilermakers on Friday before they travel to Bloomington. Both Ohio State and IU have faced Cincinnati, Kentucky and Tennessee. IU and OSU defeated Cincinnati 7-0. Both teams suffered losses to the Wildcats and Volunteers.

Ohio State freshman Kelsey Dieters is ranked No. 53 in singles.

IU is 6-5 against Ohio State for the past decade, but the Buckeyes have won four of the past five dual matches against the Hoosiers.

In last year’s Big Ten Women’s Tennis Tournament, Ohio State defeated Penn State 4-2, but then Northwestern knocked off Ohio State in the quarterfinals.

Loring said Penn State and Ohio State are very good. He said Penn State plays better indoors, which is where he said he expects the match to be played. Loring said this weekend’s matches will be very competitive and will likely be decided by 4-3 margins.

“We’ve been playing well, and maybe this (win against Duke) will give us just a little extra confidence that we need, but we really haven’t played badly all year,” Loring said.

Bracketology Report: Cincinnati Bearcats

Cincinnati Bearcats—(19-7, 7-6)—10th in the Big East

Strength of schedule: 31

RPI: 42

BPI: 21

Good wins:

  • 77-66 vs. Oregon
  • 70-61 @ Pittsburgh
  • 71-69 OT vs. Marquette

Bad losses:

  • 54-50 @ Providence

Remaining schedule:

  • 2/21 @ Connecticut
  • 2/24 @ No. 24 Notre Dame
  • 3/2 vs. Connecticut
  • 3/4 @ Louisville
  • 3/9 vs. South Florida

Even though Cincinnati has six conference losses and sits towards the bottom of the Big East standings, the Bearcats have been competitive in every game they’ve played in this season. Four of their losses have come against ranked opponents and another was against an unranked New Mexico squad that is now No. 16. UC has lost two games by one point, in addition to three other losses by six points or fewer. The Bearcats have proven that they’re a tough out but they lack quality conference wins, which are readily available in a conference with six ranked teams.

Cincinnati has held its opponents below 70 points on 23 occasions this season. However, the Bearcats’ offense leaves them susceptible to close losses in low-scoring games. Junior guard Sean Kilpatrick leads the team with his 18 points per game average on 41.6% shooting. Senior guards Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker are the only other Bearcats to average in double figures in scoring. UC’s offense is too guard heavy and Cincinnati is lacking an inside scoring presence that the team had last season with center Yancy Gates.

Cincinnati junior guard Sean Kilpatrick leads the team with an 18 points per game scoring average. (Image courtesy of bleacherreport.com)
Cincinnati junior guard Sean Kilpatrick leads the team with an 18 points per game scoring average. (Image courtesy of bleacherreport.com)

Cincinnati’s résumé is certainly tournament worthy but the Bearcats still have lots of room for improvement. At this point, UC is on pace for a seven, eight or nine seed. With four games remaining against Louisville, Notre Dame and Connecticut, who are fourth, fifth, and sixth in the Big East, respectively, the Bearcats could move up to a No. 4 or No. 5 seed if they run the table. A strong showing in the Big East Tournament would allow Cincinnati to be in the discussion as a No. 5 or No. 6 seed.

Prediction: Cincinnati will lose at Connecticut and Notre Dame, then end its three-game losing streak with a home victory over UConn. The Bearcats will lose on the road to Louisville and end the regular season with a win over South Florida to finish the season 21-10 (9-9). UC will be the No. 10 seed in the Big East Tournament. Cincinnati will win its first game and lose the second. The Bearcats will be a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

College basketball stock report for week 16

After five consecutive weeks of teams moving up to the No. 1 spot one week and then back down the next as if there was a revolving door for the top spot, Indiana has held on to the No. 1 rank for the past three weeks. Miami (FL) has continued its ascent up in the polls from No. 25, No. 14, No. 8, and No. 3 to No. 2 and 23 first place votes behind the Hoosiers.

The Big East leads all conferences with six ranked teams, followed by the Big Ten with five and Big 12 with three.

With three weeks left of regular season conference play, here is my college basketball stock report:

BUY

Michigan State Spartans-(22-4, 11-2)-Ever since losing by five on the road to No. 7 Indiana, the Spartans have rattled off five wins in a row, including a 23-point drubbing of No. 4 Michigan. Michigan State is tied for first in the Big Ten with the opportunity to have sole possession of first place with a game against No. 1 Indiana tonight in East Lansing, Mich.

Adreian Payne and Michigan State are heating up as March approaches. The Spartans are tied with No. 1 Indiana for first place in the Big Ten entering their game on Tuesday.(Image courtesy of buckey extra.dispatch.com)
Adreian Payne and Michigan State are heating up as March approaches. The Spartans are tied with No. 1 Indiana for first place in the Big Ten entering their game on Tuesday.
(Image courtesy of buckey extra.dispatch.com)

Georgetown Hoyas-(19-4, 9-3)-The Hoyas have taken advantage of Syracuse’s three losses in the Orange’s last six games; Georgetown has won seven straight games, including three against ranked Big East opponents, and is in a three-way tie for first place.

Gonzaga Bulldogs-(25-2, 12-0)-Gonzaga has won 16 of its last 17 games and the Bulldogs’ only loss in the new year was a one-point defeat at the hands of Roosevelt Jones and the Butler Bulldogs on the road. Gonzaga played and defeated the four teams remaining on its schedule by an average of nearly 13 points this season. It would be no surprise if the Bulldogs do not lose until the NCAA Tournament.

SELL

Butler Bulldogs-(21-5, 8-3)-Butler has proven that its best is very good after the Bulldogs defeated No. 1 Indiana in December. However, Butler has lost three of its past eight games. Even though the Bulldogs play in an improved A-10, they have gradually fallen from their top 10 ranking.

Michigan Wolverines-(22-4, 9-4)-There is no doubt that the Wolverines have a roster that has the ability to play in Atlanta for the Final Four but Michigan has slipped up several times lately. The Wolverines lost three of their past five games. All four of Michigan’s losses this season have come on the road and the No. 7 team in the country will have to be able to play away from Ann Arbor, Mich. in order to go deep in the tournament.

Cincinnati Bearcats-(19-7, 7-6)-Cincinnati has been ranked for most of the season but fell out of the top 25 this week after losing three of their past four games and four of seven. All of the Bearcats’ losses have been by ten points or fewer, with four of them being by less than five points, UC has struggled to emerge as one of the best teams in the Big East. Cincinnati is tied for ninth in the conference with games against Connecticut, Notre Dame and Louisville remaining on its schedule. The Bearcats were projected to be a No. 3 seed in ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s projected NCAA Tournament but they are falling quickly.

HOLD

Notre Dame Fighting Irish-(21-6, 9-5)-In the past two weeks, Notre Dame defeated No. 11 Louisville in five overtimes and No. 20 Pittsburgh on the road. However, the Fighting Irish also lost to No. 9 Syracuse by 16 and unranked Providence by 17. Notre Dame has a lot of potential but the team has been too inconsistent.

Marquette Golden Eagles-(18-6, 9-3)-With the exception of a loss at Green Bay in December, Marquette does not have any horrible losses this season. The Golden Eagles were routed by Florida and Louisville, two teams that have been at the top of the polls for most of the season, but they have faired well in their conference schedule. Marquette hasn’t proven that it’s a great team but has exceeded expectations in one of college basketball’s toughest conferences. With four road games and two matchups against ranked opponents remaining on their schedule, the Golden Eagles have a challenging home stretch before the Big East Tournament.

Sophomores lead No. 50 IU women’s tennis

Two years ago, IU Coach Lin Loring and Associate Head Coach Ramiro Azcui compiled the 10th-best recruiting class in the nation, according to Tennis Recruiting Network. Indiana’s five-member freshman class of 2011 included four five-star recruits.

The new Hoosiers were Carolyn Chupa from Bradenton, Fla., Alecia Kauss from Overland Park, Kan., Katie Klyczek from Munster, Ind., Shannon Murdy from Atlanta and Ariel Beckerman from Santa Barbara, Calif.

Though Beckerman is no longer on the team, Loring said the four others remain and have made an impact on the Hoosiers in the 2012-13 season.

CHOOSING IU

Loring said the Kelley School of Business was a major factor in the women’s decisions to become Hoosiers. He said with the exception of Klyczek, they all wanted to be business students.

“The Kelley School of Business was a huge draw,” he said. “Scott Dobos, a professor in the business school, had lunch with all of them, and he was three-for-three on the business school girls.”

Loring said all of the women had ties to the Midwest or the Big Ten.

“Katie turned down some scholarships to other schools and just ended up, I think, wanting to stay in-state,” he said. “I think she picked us more for being close to home and in-state, but the other girls all had Big Ten or Midwest ties of some sort.”

He said Chupa is originally from Michigan, and her sister was in school at Wisconsin at the time of her college decision. Loring said he thinks Kauss’ mom went to Iowa and her dad went to Nebraska. He said Murdy had relatives in Ohio.

“When I visited, I could tell that the team really had a bond with each other that a lot of other teams can’t say, so I was really impressed by that,” Murdy said.

Kauss said she chose to play tennis at IU because of the coaches and the team which were major factors in her decision.

“Carolyn and I were on the same official visit, and I loved the girls,” she said. “I always had a lot of respect for the coaches, so they were a big part of it.”

FRESHMAN YEAR

In the 2011-12 campaign, the five freshmen made an immediate impact on the team. Collectively, they posted a 77-54 singles record and a 72-53 overall doubles record for the 16-11 Hoosiers.

They achieved those records without making major adjustments in their tennis games in their first year of college, Loring said.

“The freshman year is always so challenging for them, because the coach is new, the food is new, everything is so new,” Loring said. “We didn’t do a lot of changing in their games, because that’s kind of their security blanket their freshman year. The only thing that is familiar with them is their tennis game.”

Klyczek solidified herself as the team’s No. 3 singles player and played in that position for two-thirds of Indiana’s dual matches. Chupa split time between the No. 3 and No. 4 spots. Kauss commanded the No. 5 singles position. Murdy was the team’s second option for both the fifth and sixth singles positions.

Klyczek and Kauss were two of the team’s top three players in terms of singles victories last season.

Evgeniya Vertesheva graduated last year, and junior Kayla Fujimoto, who was 22-9 in singles and 29-13 overall in doubles last season, suffered a season-ending injury, which meant that the now-sophomores had significant players to replace.

SOPHOMORE YEAR

Loring said he thinks all of the players have improved tremendously this year.

“We’ve already made a lot more changes and worked on more changes and worked on a lot more things this year than we did their freshman year,” he said. “They worked hard over the summer and have definitely all improved.”

Through five dual matches in the spring season, their improvement has translated to many decisive wins on the court, and the sophomores have been major contributors to IU’s perfect 5-0 start.

Kauss, who was named the Big Ten Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week for the first time in her career Jan. 15, and Klyczek, have alternated between the No. 2 and No. 3 singles positions in most of the team’s dual matches.

Chupa was sick for the matches against Miami (Ohio) and Cincinnati but has since occupied the No. 4 spot. Murdy has four singles wins in the spring season, two each at the No. 5 and No. 6 positions.

In every dual match this season, at least half of IU’s doubles players were sophomores. On three occasions, Murdy and Kauss and Chupa and Klyczek teamed up in doubles matches.

The team’s success has led to a top-50 rank, and the sophomores said this year their focus is just that — the team.

“Last year, we were trying to perform well individually. I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves,” Murdy said. “This year we’re more concerned about the team as a whole.”

The sophomores have experienced a rite of passage where their mindsets have shifted from playing tennis as largely an individual sport in high school to being team-oriented players in college.

“I feel like we’ve all grown as team players, because growing up, tennis is an individual sport,” Chupa said. “Learning to cooperate with everyone in singles and doubles definitely helped us.”

IU women’s tennis to play three duals over weekend

After an opening weekend in which the IU women’s tennis team defeated both Miami (Ohio) and Cincinnati 7-0, the No. 50 Hoosiers will play three dual matches this weekend at the IU Tennis Center.

The team will face Marquette 11 a.m. Saturday. The women will then compete against Western Michigan at 11 a.m. and Butler at 4 p.m. Sunday.

While IU has not competed against any of the three opponents in a dual match this school year, the women’s tennis team is familiar with Marquette and Western Michigan after playing against them in tournaments.

IU competed against Marquette and Western Michigan in the Western Michigan University Super Challenge last November. In their head-to-head matches, the Hoosiers were 2-0 in both singles and doubles against the Golden Eagles.

IU split its two singles matches against Western Michigan in the tournament.

IU Coach Lin Loring said Western Michigan usually finishes in the top two teams in the Mid-American Conference and the best MAC schools are capable of beating Big Ten schools.

Two weeks ago, Marquette played in the four-team adidas IU Winter Invitational. IU posted a 2-0 record in singles and was 6-0 in doubles play against MU.

“We have notes from playing them last year and playing them this year so that will help prepare us,” Loring said. “We’ll know what their tendencies are in singles and doubles and we’ll prepare accordingly.”

Sophomore Carolyn Chupa said IU will prepare the same way as when the team played Marquette and Western Michigan in tournaments earlier in the season. However, she said the team’s mindset will be different this time around since it is playing dual matches instead of a tournament.

IU also has a connection to Butler, who Loring said is the weakest of the Hoosiers’ three opponents on paper. Junior Gabrielle Rubenstein transferred to IU in August after playing for Butler in her first two years of college.

None of IU’s opponents are ranked as a team and the Hoosiers will not face any ranked singles players or doubles combinations. IU’s pair of players from France, junior Sophie Garre and senior Leslie Hureau, are No. 31 in doubles.

Marquette is 1-1 in dual matches this season after a 5-2 loss to Minnesota and a 6-1 win against Montana.

Similar to IU, Western Michigan is off to a 2-0 start after a pair of 7-0 victories against Dayton and Valpariaso.

Butler is 1-0 after a 5-2 win against Dayton.

Chupa said she was out last weekend with the flu and there are a few minor injuries with which players are dealing. However, Loring said the ailments will not set the team back.

“Between the flu and the stomach virus going around, that could all change by Saturday, but right now everybody is healthy,” Loring said.

He said IU’s biggest challenge this weekend will be playing three matches in two days. Even though the Hoosiers are returning to full strength, he said the team has “pretty good depth” in case a player aggravates a previous injury or becomes ill.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to rotate some people around if anybody does get a little nagging injury or if anyone isn’t feeing well,” Loring said. “Western Michigan is playing a match Saturday before they come here so I think there will be a level playing field.”

IU women’s tennis dominates opponents without dropping a match

The No. 49 Indiana Hoosiers women’s tennis team traveled to Cincinnati on Saturday to play its first dual matches of the season against Miami (OH) and Cincinnati. The women did not lose a singles or doubles match against either team and Indiana is off to a 2-0 start in the spring season.

IU Coach Lin Loring said that it was a good experience for the team to play a couple of matches on the road to start the season.

“We knew that we were probably favored in both matches and I don’t think we played down to the competition,” he said. “We played at a pretty good level and there were a couple of matches that we dropped a set but I thought that our opponents played very well. We did a good job of winning those so all in all I think it will help our confidence as we prepare for harder matches.”

The Hoosiers played the Miami RedHawks on Saturday morning and they won five of their six singles matches in straight stats.

At the No. 1 position, senior Leslie Hureau defeated Nimisha Mohan 6-2, 6-1. In the No. 2 and final singles match against Miami, sophomore Alecia Kauss came from behind to defeat Christiana Raymond 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-8) to finish the perfect singles record for Indiana.

In the No. 1 doubles match, the No. 31 combination of junior Sohpie Garre and Hureau defeated Raymond/ Christine Guerrazzi 8-1.

After defeating Miami 7-0, Indiana repeated its success with another 7-0 win against Cincinnati.

The only change made between the matches was Alecia Kauss and sophomore Katie Klyczek switching singles positions so that Klyczek was in the No. 2 spot against Cincinnati. IU Coach Loring said that both women have been playing at a pretty equal level and further adjustments could have been made if sophomore Carolyn Chupa had not been sick over the weekend.

Similarly to the Hoosiers’ singles wins against the RedHawks, the women won five matches in straight sets. In the No. 1 match, Hureau defeated Jasmine Lee 6-0, 6-0.

At No. 5, sophomore Shannon Murdy defeated Sierra Sullivan 3-6, 6-0, 1-0 (10-5) to complete the 6-0 singles record against Cincinnati.

In doubles, Garre/Hureau bested Lee/Caitlin O’Gara 8-3 in the No. 1 match.

Overall, IU Coach Loring said that the women played best in doubles. He said that it’s always an area in which an underdog team can keep the matches close due to doubles being more team-oriented than singles matches.

Indiana has a week off before the women’s tennis team hosts Marquette next Saturday at 11 a.m.

Hoosiers prepare for 1st dual matches of season

After posting a 27-5 team record in last weekend’s adidas IU Winter Invitational, the IU women’s tennis team will play its first dual matches of the season on Saturday. No. 49 IU will travel to Cincinnati to face the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks at 11 a.m. followed by a match against the Cincinnati Bearcats at 4 p.m.

IU has faced at least one of the two Ohio schools every year since the 2005-06 season. The Hoosiers have been 6-0 against Miami and 3-0 against Cincinnati. IU dominated those matchups, winning all seven dual match points on four occasions and winning six points in two other instances.

Neither Miami nor Cincinnati has any nationally ranked singles or doubles players. IU has the No. 31 doubles combination of senior Leslie Hureau and junior Sophie Garre.

The Hoosiers are favored to win both matches, and IU Coach Lin Loring said he expects tougher competition against Miami.

“Miami is traditionally one of the best MAC schools and as you know from football, volleyball, basketball, the best MAC schools can beat Big Ten schools,” he said. “Miami and Western Michigan are always one and two in the MAC and that will be a good match to start the season with.”

Loring is familiar with Cincinnati Coach Angela Wilson, who played tennis at IU from 1983 to 1987 and was a member of two Big Ten Championship teams. He said she is doing a “good job of building” Cincinnati’s women’s tennis program, but the Bearcats are still “a level below,” which is why IU is playing them after Miami.

“Early in the season is always a tough time to play somebody because you don’t know quite what to expect, especially because they have three new players,” Loring said. “It’s kind of the unknown, which will be the biggest challenge in that match for us.”

Dual matches have six singles matches and three doubles matches. Each win in a singles match counts as one point and the school that wins the majority of the doubles matches wins the doubles point. With seven points in each dual match, the team that wins the majority of the total points wins the match.

“It’s still a tennis match but it’s more of a team thing so you have to take care of your court and win your match,” Hureau said. “You also want to support the other girls because at the end of the day we have to win as a team.”

IU is looking to return to full strength after two players were injured over the weekend. Hureau hurt her right wrist in a match and sophomore Shannon Murdy was hit by a ball at the net.

Injuries are just one of several factors Loring will consider when deciding the team’s singles order and doubles combinations.

“We look at how we did last semester and we’ll look at how we’re doing this semester and we’ll get an injury report from the trainer at the end of the week,” he said. “We may not set the lineup until after we practice there on Friday and see the speed of the courts and whose game is suited for the courts.”

The Hoosiers are still in the early stages of the spring season, however Loring said he thinks IU will soon be back in a rhythm of playing good tennis.

“I feel like we’re maybe not quite where we were in November but we’ve really only had three days of practice and the tournament so I think by the end of the week we’ll be fine,” he said.

IU Coach Lin Loring and Leslie Hureau preview the start of the spring season

The Indiana University women’s tennis team will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio this weekend to play its first dual matches of the spring season against Miami (OH) and Cincinnati. The Hoosiers will face the RedHawks on Saturday at 11:00 am, followed by a match against the Bearcats at 4:00 pm.

In the adidas IU Winter Invitational that Indiana hosted last weekend, senior Leslie Hureau injured her wrist and sophomore Shannon Murdy was hit in the head by a volley at the net. As a result of the injuries, the team used eight different doubles combinations during the three-day tournament.

Hureau said that she and Shannon hope to play this weekend against Miami and Cincinnati.

“In the past we have always had to change combinations because we were not that good in doubles and we had to adjust,” Hureau said. “Plus, you never know when people are going to get injured this season and something is going to happen so we have to be ready and try as many combinations as possible before a big match.”

IU Coach Lin Loring said that he will consider the team’s play last semester, the trainer’s injury report as well as the condition of the courts when deciding Indiana’s singles order and doubles combinations. He said that the doubles combinations will probably not change between the matches.

“If we change it, it will probably be because somebody is not one hundred percent and can’t go two matches,” IU Coach Loring said. “We may rotate some kids in singles and we may rotate doubles positions but probably wouldn’t change doubles partners.”

Hureau said that Miami is “a pretty good team” and that Indiana usually wins but typically in “pretty close, pretty tough matches.” She said that the Hoosiers are supposed to win their match against the Bearcats but that they have to take it seriously.

Hureau said that she likes where the team is headed in her final season at IU.

“Of course we still have some adjustments to make because we’ve only had a week of practice but I think we’re in pretty good shape, especially in singles,” she said. “I think we’re ready and we’re still working on some stuff and hopefully we’re going to improve with every match.”

IU’s Kauss named Big Ten women’s tennis Athlete of the Week

Indiana University sophomore Alecia Kauss was named the Big Ten women’s tennis Athlete of the Week on Tuesday. Kauss, a native of Overland Park, Kan. and graduate of Blue Valley West High School, earned the honor after winning all seven of her matches in the adidas IU Winter Invitational, which was held at the IU Tennis Center over the weekend. It is her first time being recognized as Big Ten women’s tennis Athlete of the Week.

She was 2-0 in singles play in the second flight with wins against Bowling Green’s Nikki Chiricosta 6-4, 6-2 and Missouri’s Rachel Stuhlman 7-5, 6-3.

The sophomore had five doubles victories with three different teammates over the weekend. Kauss and sophomore Shannon Murdy defeated Bowling Green’s Maddy Eccleston/Katie Grubb 9-8 (5). Along with fellow sophomore Katie Kylczek, she topped Missouri’s Cierra Gaytan-Leach/Elisha Gabb 9-7 and Rocio Diaz/Erin Gebes of Marquette 8-6. With junior Sophie Garre as her doubles partner, Kauss won matches against Marquette’s Aleeza Kanner/Gebes 8-2 and Gaytan-Leach/Gabb of Missouri 9-8 (6).

Kauss is coming off of a freshman year in which she went 21-15 in singles play and 21-9 in doubles matches. In her 2012-13 campaign, she is 6-4 in singles, with two losses to nationally ranked opponents, and 11-3 in doubles matches.

The Hoosiers will be back in action this Saturday when they travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to face Miami (OH) and Cincinnati in the first dual matches of the spring season.